Monday, August 22, 2011

Kota Kinabalu: Borneo's Best Nightlife

Plenty to do in Kota Kinabalu when the sun goes down.
Easily the most happening city on Malaysian Borneo (sorry Kuching), Kota Kinabalu has more than enough nightlife options to satisfy any thirsty mountaineer, beach-goer or traveller.  The largest congregation of nightlife is located at the waterfront promenade but bar options are spread all over town. Liquor prices in K.K., as in all of Malaysia, are high.  The cheapest way to have a night out is to predrink with cheap hard liquor purchased from a corner store.  If you are lucky enough to be arriving in Kota Kinabalu via Labuan, the duty free Island, be sure to pick up some booze there.   

Australian Place:

BB cafe: Closest bar to the backpacker haunt of Australia Place. Live keyboard band everynight playing mostly oldies and Malay hits (they take requests too). Great place to meet other travellers. Happy hour specials until 9. 

Waterfront Promenade:

Bed: The waterfront promenade's largest party venue is a laser filled party palace.  Live performances warm up for late night DJ sets.  Locals warn of dodgy liquor used in the cocktails. 

Hito: Modern, stylish karaoke bar by the waterfront promenade.  Sing to your heart's content.

Shamrock: The choice of Irish and British expats is styled exactly as one would expect from an Irish pub. 2 rules are listed on the wall: #1 the barman is always right. 2 if the barman is wrong, refer to rule 1. A great place for a pint of Guiness.

Loft Party club: A bit of and uninspired name but two levels of lounge on the waterfront can draw a crowd on the weekend. 

Other Areas:

Lasers, disco balls and trees? This long-time popular club has a bit of an oudated feel to it but as long as the crowds continue to show up it will be a great place to party.  Located at the waterfront across from the Marlin statue.

Shenanigans: Rod Farva's (excuse the obscure reference) favourite Malaysian bar is attached to the Hyatt Regency hotel, Oppisite cocoon. Expensive (expect Hyatt Regency prices).

Cock and Bull: An old ex-pat favourite located next to Jesselton Pier. Features a live band, 2 projector screens and an American pool table.

Ice bar: A bit of a journey from KK centre, located at the 1Borneo hypermall, ice bar is an exciting venue if your accommodation is nearby. Stylish lounge bar with pool table and music played just a little too loud to maintain a conversation. With the great new Filipino cover band, who needs conversation anyways.
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